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Altera buys Applied Micro's FPGA business and signs collaboration agreement

Will co-develop server chips with ARM and FPGA cores
Mon Apr 15 2013, 17:18
An Intel chipset

CHIP DESIGNERS Altera and Applied Micro have announced that they will work together on server chips following the sale of Applied's TPACK subsidiary to Altera.

Altera, known for its field programmable gate array (FPGA) designs, has bought Applied Micro's TPACK subsidiary, which designs FPGA based products for use in network infrastructure equipment. The two firms also announced they will work together on server chips that include Altera's FPGA and Applied Micro's ARM based server chips.

Applied Micro is widely expected to be the first ARMv8 chip vendor, with a product out later this year. With the firm offloading its FPGA business, there is little doubt that it will be concentrating on ARM based chips in the future.

Both Altera and Applied Micro have made no secret of their intentions to design 64-bit ARM based processors and FPGAs, claiming the products will suit network infrastructure, servers and storage. Applied Micro said the collaboration between the two firms will include both hardware and software.

George Jones, VP and co-GM of Connectivity Products at Applied Micro said, "Combining Altera's advanced FPGA technology with our X-Gene Server on a Chip, Gearbox, PQX and QPSK products will provide our customers with highly optimized, cost-effective designs for next-generation data center infrastructure."

While Altera is a big name in the FPGA market, wider adoption of FPGAs has largely stagnated due to the expertise required to extract performance out of FPGAs. Both Altera and Applied Micro could win some business as firms look to first deploy on Applied Micro's easier to program ARM cores and then move to making use of Altera's FPGAs.

Applied Micro said that the sale of TPACK should close by the end of April and it will retain licensing rights to TPACK's technology following the sale. Neither firm disclosed financial details of the deal. µ


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